Are You Ready and Reveling in the New Year?

Evening shot of the Fox Theatre in Atlanta

Happy New Year from Atlanta!

I've been remiss in my correspondence when it comes to my weekly missives. 

It's hard keeping up with a blog week after week. I didn't mean to take an entire month of Wednesdays off but somehow it happened, and here it is already Thursday!

I don't know about you but things get busy around here during the Christmas season.

I was so happy to have my youngest staying with me for a couple of weeks. She was happy to be in Atlanta weather instead of Chicago! I spent time with her, worked, attended a few holiday parties, dinners, and cookie swaps and suddenly it was Christmas Eve. 

I love Christmas Eve. 

We always gather at my folks' house for Christmas Eve dinner after mass. We're usually missing a kid or two but whoever's in town comes. We have some dear friends who join us as well.

It's a good time. 

Right before dinner, we have a toast and toss back our annual shot of Icehole butterscotch schnapps - which is funny for me because I don't do shots and I'm not a huge butterscotch fan.'s a thing!

Our friend, Julie, brings the Icehole and cute little moosehead shot glasses. 

It's the one and only time of the year when I'll take a shot. One. Shot. 

Admittedly, it's a blast doing a shot with your parents AND your kids, sister, and friends all at the same time.

The family that drinks together stays together...or something like that, right? The rest of the year I prefer a slowly-sipped glass of wine or a cocktail now and then.

PSA: Not to make light of or encourage drinking. Excessive alcohol is a societal scourge taking a huge toll on people and their families. I've seen that up close and personal. I'm not a fan. 


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, whichever holiday you celebrate!

I had several photo event shoots I assisted with in December. 

I assisted my friend Lauren, of Graphiknation, on two shoots she had at the Fox Theatre - one was a large event.

Near the end of the event, Lauren stationed me in the balcony near the confetti canon so I could capture the right shot.

I double and triple-checked my camera settings and kept looking at my watch. I didn't want to miss the big moment and I'd only have a second or two. No pressure, right?

The canon went off about 10 minutes early, scaring the living hell out of me, but...hey! I got the shot!

Confetti from the confetti canon at the Fox Theatre

And I didn't have a heart attack, so that's a plus!

I've been trending away from taking on my own event work because I've discovered I'd much rather be a second shooter or assist. It leaves me more time for my art photos and writing work.

I'm also enjoying assisting on commercial photo shoots and discovering how much I like portrait work. The lovely Kaylinn Gilstrap has invited me on several of her commercial shoots to help out, learn, and get a feel for it. 

I love learning about studio lighting and other aspects of photography. Plus commercial assisting is a physical job - lots of lifting and moving around with less time sitting at the computer, which I love.  

I get plenty of computer time when I'm writing. 

I also get lots of computer time when I'm editing my own photos. 

The photo above was lots of fun - and frustration. I recently bought a tablet for my computer so I could finesse my editing. The stylus on the tablet definitely takes some getting used to. 

A regular mouse is so imprecise and my left hand was hurting all the time from gripping the mouse. I'm hoping that goes away with the stylus and tablet. 

It took me a long time editing the cover photo for this post because I'm not yet used to how the stylus works on the tablet. I made so many mistakes - the stylus jumped around in unexpected ways. It reminded me of when I first learned how to use a mouse but that's a story for another time!

I know it won't take me long to get used to the stylus but for the moment it's frustrating and slow. 

The cover photo above is eight photos composited together with 18 layers total for all my edits. Why so many photos? 

Shooting light trails can be tricky especially with something like the Fox Theatre sign in the background. The sign is bright so to capture it correctly, you need a quick shutter speed. 

Using a quick shutter speed means you can't get the light trails from the cars. What's the answer? Shoot a few shots for the light trails using a slow shutter speed and a stopped-down aperture. You want your aperture between 8 and 11 or so. 

Make sure you're on a tripod and don't move the camera at all. 

Then get some photos using a fast shutter speed, exposing only for the bright area of the photo. 

When it came to post-processing, I did the initial editing in Lightroom. Then I picked several photos with different light trails and one with a perfect exposure of the sign. 

I opened the photos as layers in Photoshop.

I was able to mask out all the parts I didn't want and keep the parts I liked. I also added a couple of layers for snow. It wasn't snowing when I took the photos but since the Fox had their Christmas decorations up, I thought that would be nice.'s 2020. Wow. 

Time for New Year's resolutions? That's a big NO for me. 

I don't make New Year's resolutions, do you?

I do make plans and write down goals.

I work on improving my skills and myself year-round. I try to substitute a good habit for a bad one - but only a little at a time. It's easier and more effective for me. 

Life is a journey. Be compassionate with yourself and others and have fun!

I hope 2020 treats you well, and see you between the raindrops!


I hate to be that person've only got about a month until Valentine's Day! Need a unique gift for a loved one? How about a beautiful print? You can find them on my website here.

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram too:)